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In Brief: November 9, 2018

Inside This Issue: Highlights of the HIV Research for Prevention Conference, and news on HIV prevention, treatment guidelines, the global epidemic, and digital communication tools.

Conference News

Highlights from the 2018 HIVR4P Conference

According to its organizers, the 2018 HIV Research for Prevention Conference (HIVR4P 2018) “is the only global scientific conference focused exclusively on the challenging and fast-growing field of biomedical HIV prevention research. HIVR4P supports cross-fertilization among research on HIV vaccines, microbicides, PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis], treatment as prevention, and other biomedical prevention approaches, while also providing a venue to discuss the research findings, questions, and priorities specific to each.”  HIVR4P 2018 was held on October 21 through 25 in Madrid, Spain.

If you’d like to review the conference research in depth, the best resource is the official HIVR4P conference website. The site has archived many conference materials, including:

  • Poster Presentations: includes full posters and abstracts on a wide range of topics from basic research to policy and advocacy. A facility is also provided to allow people to contact poster presentation authors.
  • Webinars: includes slides, video, and downloadable audio recordings of several hundred speakers’ presentations at 48 conference sessions.
  • Rapporteurs Summaries: includes daily overviews of key scientific findings presented at HIVR4P.

The AIDSmap website also provides extensive conference coverage on a special HIVR4P 2018 page.  Of particular interest is AIDSmap’s conference bulletin, which presents a round-up of news from HIVR4P 2018, with links to full news reports and other relevant resource materials such as presentation slides and abstracts.

Conference Overview Articles from HIVR4P 2018

PrEP News from HIVR4P 2018

Other News from HIVR4P 2018



HIV Prevention

CDC Issue Brief on HIV Prevention for Hispanic/Latino Gay and Bisexual Men

In conjunction with last month's National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), the CDC published an issue brief focusing on HIV prevention for Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men. The four-page brief summarizes the latest epidemiological data on HIV in this disproportionately affected group and its implications for HIV prevention.  The brief also describes the unique social and structural factors that increase HIV risk among Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men, their HIV continuum of care, and CDC’s efforts to strengthen HIV prevention efforts that respond to the distinct needs of Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men. The document ends with a discussion of the steps that state and local health departments, community-based organizations, community and religious leaders, and all interested community members can take to reduce new infections among Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men.


Guidelines and Recommendations

HHS Updates Adult and Adolescent HIV Treatment Guidelines

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released an updated version of its Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents Living with HIV. The revised guidelines were developed by an expert panel after reviewing the latest research on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and related issues, including lab tests that can provide valuable information to guide HIV treatment and care.

HHS has developed a “What’s New in the Guidelines?” section listing important updates to its recommendations.  The section summarizes recent guidance about:

  • the appropriate use of resistance testing and co-receptor tropism testing;
  • the risk of neural tube defects in infants born to women receiving the ARV drug dolutegravir (DTG) at the time of conception, as well as guidance for clinicians who are considering the use of DTG or other integrase inhibitors in ARV regimens for women who are pregnant or of child-bearing age;
  • changes to HHS recommendations regarding the choice of a person’s first ARV treatment regimen;
  • ARV treatment options for persons with multidrug-resistant HIV;
  • options for optimizing ARV treatment in persons who have achieved viral suppression; and
  • updated information about hepatitis C virus and HIV coinfection, adverse effects of ARVs, prices of commonly used ARVs, and drug-drug interactions.


The Global Epidemic

Declines in HIV Research Funding Place Global Prevention Targets at Risk

Advances in HIV prevention and treatment access have led to substantial reductions in new HIV infections in recent years – leading to the adoption of ambitious prevention targets whose achievement would be an important milestone toward ending the global HIV epidemic.  However, recent reductions in funding for HIV prevention research and development could jeopardize these prevention goals, according to a new report,  HIV Prevention Research & Development Investments 2017: Investing to End the Epidemic.  The report was produced by the Resource Tracking for HIV Prevention R&D Working Group (RTWG), which is led by AVAC, in partnership with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and UNAIDS. The RTWG tracks trends in R&D investments and expenditures for biomedical HIV prevention options, including AIDS vaccines, microbicides, multipurpose prevention technologies, PrEP, treatment as prevention, medical male circumcision, female condoms, herpes vaccines, HIV cure, and therapeutic vaccines.

In 2017, HIV research funding declined for the fifth consecutive year, falling to its lowest level in over a decade, the report notes. In 2017, funding for HIV prevention research and development decreased by 3.5% ($40 million) from the previous year, falling to $ 1.1 billion.

The report concludes that meeting the UNAIDS HIV prevention Fast-Track target of less than 500,000 new infections by 2020 (new HIV infections were at 1.8 million in 2017) will require both the expansion of existing prevention options such as voluntary medical male circumcision and PrEP, and the development of innovative approaches to prevention, including long-acting ARV-based prevention options and a vaccine.

“With 5,000 people becoming infected with HIV every day, it is critical that we both scale up the effective HIV prevention programs we currently have and invest in new technologies and solutions so that they can become a reality for the populations most affected by HIV,” notes Tim Martineau, UNAIDS deputy executive director. “Doing both will avert new infections, save lives and reduce the rising costs of life-long antiretroviral treatment.”


Social Media and Digital Communication Tools

More Digital Tools and Tips from

HHS’s blog site has recently published several new posts as part of its ongoing digital marketing and outreach series. The series is designed to help agencies and organizations become more knowledgeable about digital tools and use them effectively in health communications.  These posts include:

Keeping Up with Digital Change: describes why provides social media technical assistance (TA) and lists upcoming events and opportunities for HIV organizations to receive social media TA.

New Data: How Youth Use Social Media: summarizes key results of a recent national survey – Digital Health Practices, Social Media Use, and Mental Well-Being Among Teens and Young Adults in the U.S. – and describes how HIV service organizations might use this information to develop innovative ways to connect with youth.

Hot Tips for Using Twitter (Part 1) and Hot Tips for Using Twitter (Part 2): the first two parts of a three-part series focusing on ways to use Twitter more effectively for HIV communication and outreach activities.

Instagram: Are You Making the Most of It?: looks at ways for effectively reaching the vast audience of Instagram users.

ICYMI: New Media Interventions @ AIDS 2018: summarizes research presented at the 2018 International AIDS Conference related to ways that social and digital media can be used to promote HIV prevention, care, and treatment.

How to Achieve ‘Position Zero’ – Five Tips for Increasing Your Content Visibility: describes strategies to increase the chances that your online information will be a top result in Google searches.